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  • Writer's pictureMatt Cundill

Steve Goldstein: The New Rules of Podcasting

Updated: Feb 14

Steve Goldstein is back after a nearly three year absence from the show to talk about video and podcasting. Last summer - video was the main topic of conversation at Podcast Movement, largely on the heels of a presentation by Steve Goldstein from Amplifi Media and Jay Nachlis from Coleman Insights.

The study surveyed podcast listeners on how they "consume" podcasts across platforms like YouTube, Spotify, Apple etc. Key findings were that 72% use multiple apps to listen, and 75% said a podcast can be audio or video. Steve and I also discussed how people are consuming podcasts in different ways - watching full videos, clips, highlights etc. Podcasters need to make content available in multiple formats to reach wider audiences. How? Well that's still something each individual podcaster needs to figure out.

The Sound Off Podcast started recording a video version of our episodes shortly after this study was released. We are interested to know what you think.


The other presenter in this study was Jay Nachlis from Coleman Insights. I host another podcast with a few of my podcast buddies called "The Podcast Superfriends" and we had Jay on the show to talk about the findings.


Also you have heard me speak to Steve, and the Superfriends speak to Jay... here they are together with the presentation that was done shortly after Podcast Movement.



Tara Sands (Voiceover)  00:02

The Sound Off Podcast. The show about podcast and broadcast starts now.

Matt Cundill  00:13

I called up Steve Goldstein and I asked him if he would come back on the show, and he said:

Steve Goldstein  00:16

Yeah, I think it's been three years. You better deal with me.

Matt Cundill  00:20

Time is just moving by so quickly.

Steve Goldstein  00:23

Because nothing's happened in three years.

Matt Cundill  00:25

Where does the time go anyhow? At Podcast Movement last year, he, along with Jay Nachlis from Coleman Insights, gave a keynote speech called The New Rules of Podcasting, which highlighted the impact YouTube and video have had on podcasts, and how they're consumed and discovered. It left many in the audience, including myself, rethinking their video strategy. Since then, you'll notice that I've started recording episodes and putting them up on YouTube. Not just the audiogram, but actual live footage of me talking on this podcast. I'm telling you, it's riveting stuff. Anyhow, this allows for better discovery and also placement in YouTube apps where someone's gonna listen to it. So for me, I've already got my mind made up on how I'm going to use video with my podcast. I'll likely be changing my thinking every few months, but what I'm really hoping for this episode is to give you some direction on what you need to do for your show. By the way, I host another podcast called the Podcast Superfriends, where we dive deep into podcasting. And we had Jay Nachlis from Coleman Insights come on the show to talk about the study from the creator and producer perspective. I've left a link to that in the show notes of this episode. And it goes without saying that if you'd like to watch this podcast instead of listen to it, there is a video experience you can have right now on YouTube. We've even added in some of Steve and Jay's colorful slides. And now, Steve Goldstein joins me from Westport, Connecticut. And we start our conversation about a fully accredited course at NYU called the Business of Podcasting, where naturally, Steve's the professor.

Steve Goldstein  00:25

We started from scratch, it's never been done before. There are many courses on how to make a podcast, you know, you put the microphone into the Mac, and you get the software and blah, blah, blah. That is not what this is about. This is about the ecosystem. And it's very NYU, they have business courses on the music side, they have the Stern School of Business and Tisch. And so this fit in kind of nicely with the sort of things that they do. And we developed it out and we debuted it in the fall. We'll do it again this coming fall. And we- we had a lot of great guest speakers, we had a lot of good content, and it was very popular offering.

Matt Cundill  01:59

One of the things I found interesting is that it resides in the music and performance side of the university, and not necessarily over in the business side.

Steve Goldstein  02:20

Yeah, but it was open to students at Stern. It was open to Tisch, it was open to Steinhardt, it was open to the entire university, but a guy named Larry Miller, who's the head of the music business department is the guy who sort of tagged this thing and- and was the mentor for it all.

Matt Cundill  03:08

And that makes sense. There's so much that really goes into- the business of music and the business of podcast is- they're first cousins.

Steve Goldstein  03:16

Well, yeah, and maybe one day you'll even be able to put music in podcasts.

Matt Cundill  03:19

How far away are we from actually doing that?

Steve Goldstein  03:22

I'll be retired, I'll be somewhere else. This is crazy that these guys can't figure this one out.

Matt Cundill  03:27

And one of the things that you came up with, I think over the last couple of years, is you've really been paying attention to video. And so tell me a little bit about the genesis of the study. You collaborated with Coleman Insights to do the study about video and podcast. And I feel like it's been a long time in the works, and something you've been thinking about for a while. So Jeff Vidler at Signal Hill Insights was one of the first, he would come out with a study, and it was about the discoveries for YouTube, and he would get a lot of pushback. I was one of the ones who said, you know, Jeff, that's YouTube, and that's not an RSS feed, and maybe you should throw that out. But I guess a good researcher doesn't throw that out, and is just really reflecting what people were telling him.

Steve Goldstein  03:49

Yeah, we sort of cooked this one up, it's a year and a half now where we were talking about ideas, what could be done, that would be significant research in the marketplace. There was no question on my end that the big issue was YouTube. And there was a lot of resistance in the podcast space, there still is. Less so than before. There were people who didn't believe the data that was coming out elsewhere. I mean, I saw reports from Pierre Bouvard and Westwood and Signal Hill, and they were showing this rise of YouTube. But nobody had done a full-on study with the impact of YouTube and podcasting sort of merged together. And so that's what Jay Nachlis and I put together along with Scott Musgrave at Coleman Insights. And it was pretty revelatory. I mean, there have been other studies since then, which sort of reinforced everything that we talked about, but we had a packed crowd because there were a lot of people who were wondering, alright, I'm hearing about YouTube. What am I going to do about it? And it was showing up elsewhere. I mean, Edison was seeing this thing. Pierre and I had conversations. I mean, it was- he was tracking YouTube four years ago, when it really wasn't as big a factor. And of course, now it is. But look, it has to be in the consideration set, because the audience is always right. Yeah.

Matt Cundill  05:32

Yeah, so this really comes down to what the audience is- how they're behaving, what they're saying, and where they're truly getting it from. So then you go and put together this study, to go and quiz people. So give me a little bit of background about the people you recruited for it, and the questions that you asked them.

Steve Goldstein  05:50

Well most of the questions were pretty basic. I mean, we were interested in two phases of this. One, how were people listening to podcasts? So that included apple and Spotify and anything and everything else. And then we did a deep dive into, okay, if you're using YouTube for podcast, how is it going? And we- we even did a face off with Spotify and Apple, just to see what the preferences were. There was a lot of data in there that sort of surprised us, certainly surprised me. I think maybe one of the biggest findings is that 72% of people were already using more than one podcast app. I thought this was sort of a binary thing, way wrong on that issue. People are shifting back and forth, depending on what they are doing. That was reinforced, by the way, by my NYU class. So you're talking about 20 year olds, and they are surfing content, and they expect it to be on multiple platforms. So that was a really good and important reinforcement of the fact that people already made the decision. I do not need one podcast app, I need to find content wherever I happen to be at that moment.

Matt Cundill  07:04

I know you'll find it surprising, but people do indeed like to watch two bald people talk to each other about podcasting. But I actually do get my hair done. I know that surprises a lot of people, but the person who was- who was doing my hair, I said, do you like podcasts? He said yes. And I said, well, where do you consume podcasts? On YouTube. And I said, well, what do you like? And Dax Shepard. I said, well, but you know you can just get it here on Spotify. So why are you wasting your time with your eyes on YouTube? And I mean, he's the one with a razor, I think I had to cut the conversation off at that point, but people are going to consume it the way they want.

Steve Goldstein  07:40

People are going to consume it the way they want. And that is also nuanced. So people aren't just either watching or listening to a podcast, they're doing both. You know, I have talked in the past about my science project. So I have a 34 year old, a 32 year old and a 25 year old. And they do consume media a little bit differently, but way differently than, you know, maybe me, but I think about what they do. And the 25 year old is living in New York City. So he is using YouTube, he's also using Spotify. But he will pull up the video to see who it is that they're talking to. But he is walking on the streets of New York. And so he's not watching the video in- in that same real time. But he's using it as a tool.

Matt Cundill  08:30

One of the things that happens with radio research over the years, because the questions the answers would come back. People would go, well, why is it like that? I said, well, because you asked the question wrong. But you did one thing really right, and you asked the question properly to people, and it wasn't where do you listen to podcasts, but you were very conscious about using the word consume, in order to get people to think and get into that mind space about podcasts.

Steve Goldstein  08:55

Yeah, we wrestled with that. I think we came up with a good answer. Maybe there are better answers. I don't know. But we certainly needed to move past the word "listen."

Matt Cundill  09:04

I liked that. I mean, if you said listen, you'd probably get a lower YouTube number.

Steve Goldstein  09:09

Probably. I don't know, we didn't make that mistake. So thank you.

Matt Cundill  09:15

I mean, podcasts are really about consumption. So I'll take it one step further, and just think, maybe our measuring in the future isn't going to be about listens, it's going to be about consumption. And consumption is going to be the number that, you know, we'll measure against and it won't be downloads.

Steve Goldstein  09:29

So let's- so let's pause there for a sec, because I think this is really important. And if you get out of the podcast space, and you go to TV, you see that that's already happened in a big and significant way. If you're linear TV, you're getting destroyed, by the way, I mean, who's watching the six and 10 o'clock news, and who's watching primetime TV? They're certainly not watching it in real time. And so NBC, interestingly, has been pushing hard at this universal measurement. So they're taking and aggregating their over the air, their mobile app, they're streaming on Peacock, they're streaming on other platforms. And they are coming up- and this will not surprise you, they're using AI- to derive the number of an unduplicated audience being consumed on multiple platforms. So when I think about Saturday Night Live, it has maybe 3 to 4 million people who watch the show. But it has way, way millions more who are watching the clips on YouTube. And of course, they're being compensated for that. But that's viewership. And that is measured viewership. And- and again, there's dollars associated with it. I think podcasters need to sort of visualize where all of that is going. I don't care whether they watch or listen to the podcast, I want them to enjoy the podcast. And it's our job to figure out how to monetize that. On recall, a lot of people are saying that they are part of, you know, a media experience. So I'll ask somebody, did you watch the Winnipeg Jets game? They said, no, I just get notifications on my phone when the goal goes in. That's still part of the experience. I would like to say that I listened to the Calm Down podcast, with Erin Andrews and Clarissa Thompson. But the truth is, I'm just watching the clips. And I feel like I'm up to date on what they were talking about. Did you see SNL on the weekend? Of course I did. But I really just watched the TikTok. You watch the cold open, and you watch the news. And maybe there was a great bit in there that sort of surfaced up. I mean, by the way, late night TV has the same problem. I mean, Stephen Colbert, nobody's watching that show. But everybody's watching the clips. I mean, and that is the way it is on YouTube Shorts. That's the way it is on TikTok. I know that producers do not love this, I totally understand that they would prefer that you experience the entire show, and most people still do. But what freaked me out is on TikTok and YouTube Shorts, people are watching clips of TV shows. And I'm talking about old time TV shows. They're just watching a segment of Seinfeld. So yes, there's a lot of grazing going on. And you need to placate that audience, and hopefully they turn into full time listeners, full time users. But sometimes it's circumstance. Sometimes people listen to the short version, because that's all they have time for. I'll take that over passing on it. And sometimes they can go deeper and listen to the longer.

Matt Cundill  12:30

Did you ask the sample about the definition of a podcast? And if it needed to include an RSS feed? And I don't know how anybody would ever phrase that without-

Steve Goldstein  12:39

Nah, we didn't- we didn't get into any of that. We- what we asked was, can a podcast be audio or video? And 75% (75%!) said, oh, yes. So this wasn't a foreign thing. I mean, they weren't thinking about it. They were already there. And so yes, 75% say it could be audio or video. Boom.

Matt Cundill  13:02

Tell me how he got here, then. Because for years, and not even for years, it wasn't so long ago I started my podcast, and it was, oh, you put it up and put it on Apple, and we'll put it in a few other places, and this is my audio and I'm good to go. And it didn't take long for it to change.

Steve Goldstein  13:19

No, it certainly hasn't. But that's where we go back to the customer's always right. And why is that? My guess, I don't know, is that because YouTube is the second largest search engine owned by the first largest search engine, that habits had been formed already with YouTube and video. And therefore it made sense to them that it was content, and the content should be found, whether it's audio or video, on the YouTube platform. So that would be sort of the linear thinking that I think probably occurred.

Matt Cundill  13:58

And you've referenced recently the three phases of podcasts. What are those three phases?

Steve Goldstein  14:02

Oh, yes, here we go. So we start with the MeUndies era, which was the baked in ads, and you know, the- you can get 20% off your mattress, you can buy lots of mattresses, and you can buy lots of different food prep services. That was the first phase. So it was very low tech, baked in, sort of makes sense that it started out that way. And comfortable and very nice. But then, as we moved into more success in the space, bigger businesses wanted to get involved. And so that I call the spaghetti against the wall era, and these are companies that jumped in, and they invested heavily in podcasting. And that resulted in a lot of- well, it resulted in a handful of really good podcasts. It resulted in a lot of really bad podcasts. It resulted in IP all over the place, everybody wanting to license stuff. And- and then, you know, along with that becomes what's sustainable? What models work? And there were crazy guarantees and inflated expectations. And a lot of people who really didn't deserve to have the word "audio producer" on their resume, but they were producing audio, because it was the flavor of the moment. I'm not really negative on this, I think this is exactly what should have happened. Because it happens in every business. People jump in, they wanted to be a part of it, and then it starts to net out a bit. And that's where we are today. Okay? And that's why we've seen companies contract. That's why we've seen some go out of business, we've seen many continue to thrive. And that brings us to the third era, which is: What's a podcast? And the answer, based upon the consumers is, wherever I get it, whatever I want to do with it, if I want to watch it, if you're my friend, Jordan Harbinger, you can watch his- his podcast, he was recording it in video before the pandemic. And so it was very natural for him to add that on. For others, it won't be so natural. I mean, I think about the top podcast, The Daily, from the New York Times. Millions and millions of people listen to The Daily. Thousands of them listen on YouTube, because there is no video component.

Tara Sands (Voiceover)  16:17

Transcription of the Sound Off Podcast is powered by the Podcast Super Friends. Five podcast producers who get together to discuss podcasting. Sharpen your podcast and creation skills by following the show on the Sound Off Podcast's YouTube or Facebook page. The Sound Off Podcast supports podcasting 2.0, so feel free to send us a boost if you're listening on a newer podcast app. If you don't have a newer podcast app, you can get one at

Matt Cundill  16:48

So my favorite takeaway, and this is great news, by the way, for fans who are of the RSS feed, or people who just want to live and die on that hill, is that 72% of podcast consumers are using multiple apps for consumption. Just a huge takeaway from the presentation you made at Podcast Movement, meaning people are finding stuff on YouTube, and then they're going to probably an RSS feed to consume it somewhere else.

Steve Goldstein  17:15

And so they're- all their listening may not be on Spotify, or Apple, it may be over on YouTube, because they happen to be in YouTube when they wanted to experience that particular podcast. Fine, great.

Matt Cundill  17:30

I'm not sure that this was discussed, but how important is it for CarPlay to be able to take your ecosystem of podcasts into the vehicle?

Steve Goldstein  17:41

So I think that's an issue, and hopefully YouTube Music starts dealing with that, because the RSS feed does go into YouTube Music. That's sort of a nuanced, complicated thing, if you are a YouTube user versus a YouTube Music user. So I'm not sure how that's going to net out. But I certainly think that consumption of podcasts in autos are particularly low. And so that will continue, number one, to be an audio experience, of course. Let's hope. But number two, it is a growth engine for consumption. Podcasts, I don't know what the number is, 70 some odd percent, are consumed in the home. Well, we need to liberate it from the home into the car. And commercial radio, of course, is mostly in the car, not so much in the home these days. So you'll see that that sort of conflicts and changes.

Matt Cundill  18:36

I think as I got up and left the auditorium after you'd given the presentation at Podcast Movement, I said to myself, I think YouTube is some sort of gateway to podcast discovery. And then people will go and find it on other apps. And I think the irony here is that podcasters keep talking about the perils of podcast discovery, and here's YouTube making it possible to be- to be discovered. I think the question I wrote down is actually what's wrong with people, but-

Steve Goldstein  19:03

Nothing. Nothing's wrong with people.

Matt Cundill  19:05

But I'll simp- I'll simplify it by just saying, does my podcast need to be on YouTube?

Steve Goldstein  19:11

Okay, so one of the- one of the factoids from the study was from people who were using YouTube for podcasts. And we said, are you finding your favorite podcasts on YouTube? And 24%, so a quarter, said no. Now, hopefully that's changed since August when we debuted the study. I don't know what that would look like today. Hopefully, that number has gone down a little bit. But I don't think it's a zero number. I don't think everybody has placed their podcast on YouTube. And they must, because it is- going back to its core value- a search engine. It is- it's a marketplace. And so if you want more people to discover your podcast, okay, there's a lot of content on YouTube, so actually finding your podcast there is crazy hard. But it's essential, because if it's on a topic that's of interest to somebody, if your podcast is on automobiles, yes, there's plenty of videos on automobiles. But wouldn't it be great if your podcast about cars also shows up?

Matt Cundill  20:19

And here we are with apps disappearing. Radio Republic is gone, Stitcher is gone. Actually, I should say Radio Republic is going. And then YouTube made an announcement that they're really happy to take your podcast in as video. So converting it from audio to video. And at the same time, we're getting rid of the Google Podcast app. So what do you see for the future of apps?

Steve Goldstein  20:45

Well, I think that's already happened. You know, I mean, the graveyard is loaded with dead podcast apps, who offered nothing of value. Maybe they had a slightly better user interface, and yes, there are others that have had beautiful interfaces. But getting- getting people to download and use another app with low differentiation is near impossible. So 75% of podcast content is down- is- is inside of YouTube, Spotify and Apple. And Apple has its own challenges. I'll go back to my NYU course, all the students had iPhones, every single one. That was an important technological piece and discovery. James Cridland said to me, oh, they're all rich people. Hey, in the US, it's different. People have iPhones. But they weren't using Apple podcasts. They aren't using Apple podcasts. They were using Spotify, because they were getting their music on Spotify. And they were using YouTube because they were getting everything else on YouTube. So that sort of makes sense. So why do they need a third app, a fourth app, a fifth app? Unless there's some different differentiator, I think that's hard. And there are plenty of apps that have come out trying to take clips of shows and make that an automated process. I think that's great. I just don't know who's going to download that app. What does this mean for the people who are very adamant about Podcasting 2.0? Are they going to need Apple and Spotify buy-in in order to matriculate what they want to do down the road?  So my sense is, all of that happens over time. And that's just the way technology works. And once again, they will follow the audience's needs and desires. The producers come second. But if they want to build the marketplace and make it richer, then they will start integrating some of these tools. I don't think Podcast 2.0's explained itself particularly well. I don't think there's a clearinghouse for all of that. They can use some more advocacy, y'know on IAB, Sounds Profitable, whatever it may be. But right now, I don't think anybody can clearly illustrate the benefits of 2.0.

Matt Cundill  23:00

So I pushed back on this for a long time. And I think if you go back through my Instagram feed or my YouTube feed, you'll be able to see the- the breaking point for me. And that's the creation of shorts. How can shorts help your podcast?

Steve Goldstein  23:12

Billions and billions of views on YouTube Shorts are occurring every day. And I don't remember the number right now. But we'll pop it up on the screen, maybe? I think it was 40% have watched a podcast clip on YouTube Shorts. Game over. Let's do it. That's a fantastic way to promote podcasts.

Matt Cundill  23:33

I guess the other thing I would probably ask is, going back to, you know, the way you summarized this entire study, and that's- you need to determine what your video strategy is. And I know that's kind of like the homework for everybody, we're a few months past, anyway, when you said that. So what should we be looking at when we're trying to determine what a video strategy is for a podcast?

Steve Goldstein  23:56

So the algorithm is different in YouTube, you have to understand that, you have to look at that. It is the same as any other algorithm from the standpoint that success breeds success. I mean, if you want to be recommended, more people have to find you, listen, and like you. And so from that standpoint, it's all the same, but the keywords are different. I mean, I am not a YouTube expert. There are a lot of people who profess to be, there are some who really are, I think that's a part of the formula, but popularity at the end of the day is going to be the most important thing. Also, learning how to use video. And I do have a sense here that AI is going to play a really nice role in video. I think there can be animations, there can be transcription that is live during the video. I see this on Spotify. I like that. I think that there are more tricks and turns that can happen with AI as a video aid, if that makes sense.

Matt Cundill  24:56

There's a rush to get this solved, to get this fixed, to do this now. You gave people homework to do and we're rushing. And at the same time as we're leaving the auditorium, you're saying, be patient, it's evolving. Results may vary.

Steve Goldstein  25:10

Yeah, I still think that. Look, all of this is evolving. And I think about two key points here that I think are worth throwing into the mix. Number one, spoken word has grown dramatically. It's up 55, 50%, whatever it is, in nine years, you have 135 million people listening to spoken word. I mean, generationally, younger people listened to music, they did not listen to spoken word. Somebody said to me- and I've used this now a few times- talk radio, for those under 50, is podcasts. So how fast has that evolved? By the way, that should scare the crap out of you, if you're doing talk radio and commercial radio, go look at your median age and your topic, because it's a single topic. But people are interested in other things other than politics. And you see that in podcasting, you see that if you look at the top 20 podcasts. And the other thing- a really interesting data point from Edison is that more audio is now being consumed than in analog. And it just- it's just crossing now. But you just know where that's going, and especially as the demography changes, but I think that's really key to all of this.

Matt Cundill  26:27

I can hear people saying, well, YouTube, it's male dominated. It's younger. You debunk- you debunked all that.

Steve Goldstein  26:34

Yeah, we debunked that. That- by the way, that one was a head scratcher for us, I think we came into it thinking, oh, this is all happening on the low end. And it's not. We also thought that- that YouTube was a more confusing platform in terms of finding the content. We expected people to say, oh, my God, you know, going back to the automobile example, you call up something about autos and podcasts are down at the bottom, and there's so much video content, we're gonna get killed here. But people are smarter than that. They find what it is that is of interest to them. And so it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. But I think that's really key.

Matt Cundill  27:12

Is it because YouTube is so easy to use for search? Tou can just type something in and you can get something. And you can't do that in Apple. And I don't think- I don't feel I can do that in Spotify.

Steve Goldstein  27:24

Well, I use Spotify. That's my primary, and I do use it. And it depends what you're looking for. At its basis, it is a music app adapted to be a podcast app, but it's getting better and smarter, too. I applaud- you know, people like to dump on Spotify, and they've certainly had their own trials and tribs in the space, but I applaud them. This space would not be as successful if Spotify wasn't there running their science projects.

Matt Cundill  27:54

It feels very overwhelming to have to take that step into video. If somebody is listening to this today, because they're thinking about making the jump into video, and they're really audio only. What's the first or second steps that you can tell them to do to maybe take a step into video, to dip their foot into the shallow end?

Steve Goldstein  28:14

So I'll go back to the notion that it doesn't need to be video, and it doesn't mean to be a Hollywood production. You don't need klieg lights, we know that. We see this on YouTube Shorts, we see this on TikTok. We see this on Instagram. By the way, there are people who are really smart about how they use all of their low key tools to make things more authentic and natural. I think that's going to work fine for many podcasters. But then you have narrative podcasts, they're more complex, they're just not going to lend itself to- to video, and they don't have to. But some good titling, maybe a little animation that runs, you know, as people are listening to the podcast, just something to make it more attractive. Maybe some credits, maybe a picture of the guest that's on the podcast. I think that there are video tools that can be used here to make it a more pleasant experience. But it's not the primary experience for many podcasters and I don't think it has to be.

Matt Cundill  29:15

Steve, thank you so much for getting us into the video swimming pool. Thanks for joining us once again. I really appreciate it.

Steve Goldstein  29:22

Pleasure to be here. I'll see you in three years.

Tara Sands (Voiceover)  29:24

The Sound Off Podcast is written and hosted by Matt Cundill. Produced by Evan Surminski. Edited by Chloe Emond-Lane. Social media by Aidan Glassey. Another great creation from the Soundoff Media Company. There's always more at


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